Prior to joining the Virginia Beach Fire Department Life Safety Education Team, Keith had over 20 years experience in fire and emergency services in the volunteer, military, and state sectors. He served as Fire Chief at two Naval Installations, and retired from The United States Navy with over 23 years of service. Prior to his joining the Life Safety office he volunteered with the office for 11 years, and served as the coordinator of Fire and Life Safety Education Programs with Virginia Department of Fire Programs. Keith started his Career with the VBFD in August 1999 as a Life Safety Education Specialist and was promoted to the Supervisor’s position in March 2007. Through his passion for delivery of Safety Education programs he created “Bucket’s the Safety Clown” May 01, 2003” and since his appearance he has delivered safety education programs to over 200,000 smiling faces. The persona of “Bucket’s“ has lead to the receipt of the following awards: 2004 Virginia Beach Fire Department Medal of Merit, 2005 The Governor’s Award for Excellence in Fire Safety Education, and 2009 along with the rest of the Life Safety Staff a Virginia Beach Fire Department Commendation Unit Citation. Keith currently serves as curriculum developer and Lead Instructor for Public Fire and Life Safety Education and Juvenile Fire Setter Intervention courses throughout Virginia with the Virginia Fire Marshal Academy, as well as a Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Instructor. When not at work Keith can often be found “Clowning Around at Harbor Park or in the community as “Kleatus the Klown” Keith is married to his wife Karen and has one daughter Heather who is a school teacher in the Chesapeake School System.
Contrary to popular belief, John has been in the fire service for almost 34 years. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in February 1977 as a firefighter and ended his 4-year military career as a fire inspector. When John came home to Norfolk in 1981, he was employed as a firefighter at Norfolk International Airport. In 1983, he went into Civil Service by going to the Veteran’s Hospital in Hampton as a firefighter (later to include fire inspector and ambulance operator). John also graduated from the Tidewater Broadcasting School of Norfolk in 1984 and later that year, took a job as a radio announcer at WKEZ-FM in Yorktown. He took a job as a fire inspector at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton in 1985, where he developed the character of “Stryker the Fire Safety Clown”. John’s motto has been to make at least one person laugh every day. John started off the U.S. Navy portion of his Civil Service career at Norfolk Naval Base in November, 1989, where he obtained the rank of Chief Fire Inspector, and remained there until his retirement in January 2007. While with the Naval Base Fire Department, John became the Public Education Coordinator for the Fire Prevention branch. In 2003, he was also selected as the “U.S. Navy Civilian Firefighter of the Year”, the first for the Naval Base Fire Department (now called “Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Fire and Emergency Services”). Since his employment with the Virginia Beach Fire Department, John continues with his alter ego of “Stryker”, to entertain and educate the adults and children of our fair city. He has also created data programs and surveys used to track numbers for the Life Safety Office. John is responsible for the “Operation Smoke Detector” program as well as the Older Adult program. He is also an Instructor for the National Child Passenger Safety Training Program. John also has certifications for Public Educator I and II, Juvenile Firesetter I and II, Fire Inspector I, II, and III as well as other certifications, and will be an adjunct instructor for the Virginia Department of Fire Programs. For the assemblies that the Fire Safety Brigade performs at the Virginia Beach elementary schools, John has created part of the backdrops for the shows. Through good times and bad, John is still enjoying his job as a Life Safety Specialist for Virginia Beach, still making people laugh. John has been (and still is) married to the love of his life, Julie, for 30 years. They have twin adult daughters and an adult son, who is a Norfolk firefighter.
Kathleen came to the Virginia Beach Fire Department with a degree from Radford University and nine years of teaching experience. Five of those years were working with students with special needs and the other four years were with children in the second grade. She was employed with the Virginia Beach Fire Department in 1999 when she moved to the area from Southwest Virginia. Kathleen has had many opportunities to be actively involved with the community of Virginia Beach via teaching in many elementary schools; performing in the fire safety shows for which she developed the character of E.D.I.T.H (Exit Drills In The Home); participating in numerous community events; educating fire fighters and caretakers about proper child safety seat installations; helping families whose children have experimented with fire; and consistently providing education to citizens ranging from preschool aged to older adults just to name a few. She has also been involved in producing several fire and life safety community awareness videos. Kathleen is actively involved in the life safety community being a long time member and now co-chairperson of The Tidewater Fire Educators Network (TFEN) as well as being an active member of The Virginia Fire and Life Safety Coalition and being part of Drive Safe Hampton Roads. In 2009, Kathleen along with her fellow co workers, received a Commendation Unit Citation for their involvement with the fire safety show seen in all of the elementary schools grades K-3 as well as numerous preschoolers in the area and has been recognized several times by the fire department for her service to the community. Kathleen carries many certifications such as Public Educator 1 and 2 as well as Juvenile Fire Setter 1 and 2 and is a Child Safety Seat Instructor. Currently, she wants to go back to her roots and expand her training to educate individuals with special needs about fire and life safety needs. Kathleen is married to her wonderful husband, Tom, and has a beautiful daughter who loves to volunteer with the Life Safety Office whenever possible.
Frances Ostroth is the newest member of the Life Safety staff. She moved here from Metro-Detroit, Michigan in the fall of 2006 to escape the northern winters. Frances received her Bachelor’s Degree in English from Grand Valley State University and her Teaching Certification from Eastern Michigan University. During her college career, Frances completed a semester abroad at Kingston University in England. Eventually her love of education and music spawned simultaneous careers in teaching and musical
entertainment. Frances enjoys comedy and the arts. When she is not at work, Frances can be found visiting her family in Michigan, writing, singing and playing with her two bossy cats.